Additional "From Further Afield" Articles


Christmas Memories
Published: 12/9/2014 10:54:11 AM


My two younger brothers crash into my room on Christmas morning, stockings ready to open, our parents fast asleep upstairs. In the early hours of white Christmas magic, we dump out our little presents to give, pausing here and there to play or finish wrapping or smile or laugh. Then we steal upstairs and carefully separate the piles of big presents under the tree: one for me, one for Jeff, one for James, and one each for mom and dad. Then it’s time to wake them up and with cinnamon rolls waiting in the kitchen for breakfast, we start at the piles of gifts. Unwrap the present from Grandma Cusson my brother suggests, so we begin with that one. And on it goes in order until all the presents have been opened, the rolls consumed, the batteries found, and the playing begun. After that, there is just enough time to get into our Christmas best, head to church, and hear about the reason we celebrate: the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

These are my childhood Christmas memories. Of course, as I got older, the story changed a little from year to year, but it was almost always the same. I’m sure that we all have some memories of Christmas past or the way that special occasions always happened year after year. It would be nearly unthinkable to forget these significant events.

There are other significant events that have been forgotten. In fact, the most significant event in history and our eternal existence has been forgotten by generations for centuries. People throughout the ages have had to be reminded of it time and time again. We read about it in Isaiah 46:8-9, 12-13 (ESV):
Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;I have purposed, and I will do it. Listen to me, you stubborn of heart, you who are far from righteousness:I bring near my righteousness; it is not far off, and my salvation will not delay; I will put salvation in Zion, for Israel my glory.

God looked down on His people of all places and times with love, and He saw that they were in great need of a Savior. From the very first time that man disobeyed God and the world was plunged into sin, God promised that Savior. He would bring salvation, redemption, and new life. Even though He is forgotten and brushed aside, He is nonetheless available for all people. He desires everyone to come to a knowledge of Him and faith in Him. That is what we celebrate. That is what we remember.

I don’t know how fast my childhood memories will fade, but there is one truth that will not fade in importance even if we forget to focus on it. The coming of Immanuel (which means God with us) as a baby who was born into our space and time to redeem us is eternal. We can cling to Him, our eternal Rock, even if all other things in our life fall apart around us like forgotten wrapping paper on a precious gift.

Er's vár a mi Istenünk,
Sarah Berta-Somogyi